Monday, May 31, 2010

Musica Sacra

I caught this programme whilst idly channel hopping the other night and then delighted to see it in its entirety on YouTube. It's a gem. Absolutely what the BBC should be about. Intelligent, entertaining, informative, uplifting.

I am particlarly taken by the sections dealing with the Sage of Southbrae, the good Dr James MacMillan (Upon Whom Be Peace). Tavener seems to have lost it a bit, but I still like Song For Athene, despite the obvious associations.

Enjoy it.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Let Them Eat Halva

For professional reasons I was in the office of a member of a branch of the legislature recently. I noticed a striking photograph on the wall. It was very beautiful and showed children of a variety of races playing together in a school playground (including what I took to be a Somali girl swathed from head to foot with only her smiling face showing). I asked the lady about it.

"I got it to show the wonderful, multicultural nature of this city." she said.

It transpires she lives in a very monocultural small village quite a distance out of the city. She gets to legislate on matters that affect how multicultural that city becomes (and every other city, for that matter).

Yet her decisions have negligible effect on the demography of the very beautiful enclave she lives in.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The heavens declare the glory of God

I have no idea if the pointy heads at NASA who publish these magnificent images contemplate the bounty of God's love in creating such vast, beautiful spaces. I hope they do. Above is a picture of the most distant galaxies, below clouds of gas and dust containing fledgeling stars.

How great is The Lord, our God!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

...and another one

First Fabio, now Jose:

"I pray a lot. I am Catholic, I believe in God. I try to be a good man so He can have a bit of time to give me a hand when I need it."

He maybe needs to work on the humility, but good to know he's on board. Congratulations Internazionale, BTW. I saw the last 30 minutes with my eldest. Good game for a big final.

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Saturday, May 22, 2010

"It's a Godawful small affair, to the girl with the mousy hair..."

The BBC in it's best, 1950's "Do you have a message for the nation, sir?" mode with Professor Stephen Hawking

Stephen Hawking warns over making contact with aliens
Aliens almost certainly exist but humans should avoid making contact, Professor Stephen Hawking has warned. In a series for the Discovery Channel the renowned astrophysicist said it was "perfectly rational" to assume intelligent life exists elsewhere. [‘Perfectly rational’ to NOT to believe it, too]
But he warned that aliens might simply raid Earth for resources, then move on. [Bet they'd offer to tarmac your drive, too, and run off without finishing the job... Do ya like dags?]
"If aliens visit us, the outcome would be much as when Columbus landed in America, which didn't turn out well for the Native Americans," he said. [Well, Ok paleface, but I see no evidence that the natives would have built the Kennedy Space Centre or the Hubble Telescope, which might have put your work back. So not all bad, eh?]
Prof Hawking thinks that, rather than actively trying to communicate with extra-terrestrials, humans should do everything possible to avoid contact. [Yeah, they come over ‘ere, stealin’ our planets. I don’t want nuffink to do with ‘em. Green b******s]
He explained: "We only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn't want to meet." [Speak for yourself, mate]
In the past, probes have been sent into space with engravings of human beings on board and diagrams showing the location of our planet. [Turn left at Alpha Centauri – just keep going, you can’t miss it]
Radio beams have been fired into space in the hope of reaching alien civilisations.
Prof Hawking said: "To my mathematical brain, the numbers alone make thinking about aliens perfectly rational. [Well that’s that settled then. We’ll just take your word for it Prof., you being so clever an’ all]
"The real challenge is to work out what aliens might actually be like." [Big lizards like David Icke says? Moving statues like on Dr Who? Big bitey things like in Alien? Oh, I don’t know, you could just make it up, couldn’t you? Hey, Prof, you didn’t just make...No! Surely not?]
The programme envisages numerous alien species including two-legged herbivores and yellow, lizard-like predators. [David Icke it is then]
But Prof Hawking conceded most life elsewhere in the universe is likely to consist of simple microbes. [Whatever, as my eldest would say (*makes hands into 'W'*)]
In the recent BBC series Wonders of the Solar System, Professor Brian Cox, a physicist from the University of Manchester, also suggested life may exist elsewhere within our solar system. [Yeah, just like the other guy says. So, that’s two clever blokes. Scientists. Must be right, yeah?]
He said organisms could be present under the ice sheet that envelops Europa, one of Jupiter's moons. [But then again...]
Professor Cox added: "Closer to home, the evidence that life could exist on Mars is growing. [Growing? Lots of speculation but evidence?]
"We will only know for sure when the next generation of spacecraft, fine-tuned to search for life, are launched to the moons of Jupiter and the arid plains of Mars in the coming decades." [That’s right. Finances completely up the spout and you want a big shiny space programme. Dream on.]

So there you have it. Two clever blokes assert that there must be alien life in the universe:

(1)Because the numbers are awfully big
(2)They’ll be big lizards...ermmm...because I say so.
(3)It could be under the ice sheet on Europa – using the same reasoning behind the idea that there might be a cream cracker under my sofa.

I'm not saying there isn't life out there, just that we should be sceptical. That's the default position of a scientist, non?

I don’t know what is the more appalling. Two distinguished academics having a public discussion in serious terms that belongs in the pub at about 10.30 on a Friday night (“No, no. Hear me out, right? I think there’s aliens, right? Must be. Shtands to reason. Your round? Brilliant. Pint of Deuchars, mate. Cheers. Oh, and some pork scratchings.”) or the supine, gullible BBC journalist without an ounce of scepticism or curiosity who took this stuff down verbatim and never questioned a single assumption or assertion, but would presumably scoff at the notion of a rational basis for religious faith.

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Friday, May 21, 2010

Another one

I still haven't worked out what the bloke on the left is doing. The medical term for it is stereotypy

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Sashes (or perhaps good sash, bad sash)

Is there something about the wearing of sashes that inclines their wearers to be anti-Catholic?

On second thoughts, as David O'Neill points out, that's a pile of nonsense. I'll get my, coat....

Old 78s

Goodness only knows what I did with it.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

I Bet You Look Good On The Dance Floor

Mr Ebomania has a series of songs scratched off the list of songs for the First Dance at his and the future Mrs E's planned wedding reception. There's Spanish cheese and 1970s Motown (Holland-Dozier-Holland, no less)

May I suggest a few other contenders for Inappropriate-First-Dance-At-A-Wedding-Song:

I'm sure Mr E would welcome suggestions.

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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Jumpin' Jive

More from Stormy Weather. This time Cab Calloway. The racial issues in this clip would warrant a long undergraduate essay or possible a final year assignment.

Most of you will know Cab Calloway from Minnie The Moocher in The Blues Brothers. Some of you may know this song from the Joe Jackson cover from the 1980s.


Monday, May 17, 2010

Stormy Weather

More Lena Horne. I've seen Stormy Weather once on TV (BBC2 I think years ago, on a Saturday afternoon). The print was bad (like Lost Horizon) with lots of jumps and sound problems, but some cracking tunes (of which more later).

BTW you might wonder where you might have seen those Zoot Suits worn by the dudes in the clip. Answers on a postcard, please...

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Reflections on yesterday

If the priest had known of the shenanigans surrounding the First Communion Mass when I went to confession on Friday, he might have given me a lighter penance. Let's say I offered it up.


(1) Many people do not know how to behave in a Church. Not their fault, they just don't know. The elderly nun who attends Mass had to ascend the steps to ask people if they would mind being respectful before the Blessed Sacrament for 5 minutes. The relative silence lasted all of 15 seconds. Monsignor repeated the request with the same effect;

(2) Trite, banal infantilised music with little reference to the transcendent and with dubious if not heretical content is the norm and it will take a generation to expunge it, if that is possible;

(3) Making it "all about Da Kidz" (especially making them perform after Communion on the altar steps) means it ends not being about Our Blessed Lord.

(4) Are slingbacks and handbags essential articles for a girl's First Communion outfit? I'm only asking....

(5) I long for the day when First Holy Communions are celebrated quietly and reverently (individually?) with close family. For my family, unless God has other ideas, that's it, until my nephew's in four years' time.

I'm not alone. This stuff happens elsewhere in the anglosphere, apparently. (Oh, and here, too)


Saturday, May 15, 2010

First Holy Communion

Deo gratias, it happened and went without a hitch. Many thanks to those of you who remembered Paulinus Minor Minor in your prayers. A bit weird in that he has to receive Holy Communion by having the pyx handed to him containing the host and then he takes the host himself (is coeliac the only real justification for Communion in the hand? Discuss)

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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Thanks and prayers

My boy has had a rocky few months since diagnosis with coeliac disease which has had a number of serious complications. He has not felt desperately unwell, thank the Lord, but he came dangerously near to needing some very unpleasant investigations and possibly unpleasant treatment. It doesn't help in this situation that Mrs P and I are medics. We knew far too much than was good for us and had the strain of keeping it from the boy. His blood results were reported all back to normal last week.

He makes his First Holy Communion next Saturday and I would ask your prayers for him.

Thanks are due, first off, to his paediatrician and dietician for getting him on the right road. My sister suggested prayers to St Therese and Venerable John Henry Newman and prayed for their help too. I am forever in her debt and their debt for the peace and comfort these two great disciples obtained for me through their intercession and for a boy who is healing.

God is glorified in his saints.

St Therese of Lisieux - Pray for us
Ven John Henry Newman - Pray for us

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Lena Horne, Old Songs, My Old Man

Lena Horne has died. Her version of 'Where or When' is superb. It was one of my father's favourite songs.

I heard it recently on the magnificent Foyle's War but it was the version by the Shepheard's Hotel Jazz Orchestra that was in The English Patient that trumps Lena Horne's version, IMHO. It's about 7.55. I want to cry every time I hear it, but that's probably because I miss my Dad.

RIP Lena Horne.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Yes, yes, yes, yes.....


To the bemusement of my neighbours, the flag of Yorkshire has flown over the garden shed since yesterday afternoon. Happy days.

Friday, May 07, 2010


Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Vote Hannay!

You'll see what I mean about 2 minutes in.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Penitent sinners

Tend to look like this.....

rather than this....